Facilitating development of rural workers organizations
Forming associations of rural workers Strengthening local organizations of peasant workers
Participatory institutions, such as cooperatives, semi-cooperatives and group associations, form an important element in measures to ensure a better livelihood for the rural poor, who are generally unorganized and unprotected. The organization of rural labour is fundamental for the application of existing labour standards and for them to participate in the debate on policy issues, take part in national development programmes and undertake self-development activities.
ILO acts to strengthen such local organizations and promote the increased observance of international labour standards relating to the improvement of their living and working conditions.
It is important also to bear in mind that in agriculture, as in other sectors of production, association is a vital need today especially in the case of family farms. Rural workers should feel a sense of solidarity with one another, and should unite to form co-operatives and professional associations. These are very necessary if farm workers are to benefit from scientific and technical methods of production and protect the prices of their products. They are necessary, too, if they are to attain an equal footing with other professional classes who, in most cases, have joined together in associations. They are necessary, finally, if farm workers are to have their proper voice in political circles and in public administration. The lone voice is not likely to command much of a hearing in times such as ours. (Papal Encyclical, Mater et Magistra, 15 May 1961)
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